Reported at ZDNet’s Between the Lines Blog:
Google’s Marissa Mayer: Speed wins by ZDNet’s Dan Farber — Marissa Mayer of Google gave a testimonial to speed. Her key insight for the crowd at the Web 2.0 Summit is that “slow and steady doesn’t win the race.” Speed is a huge component and big market driver of Web 2.0, she said. It turns out that fractions of a second difference in returning the main page affects the total time spent on the site and whether users come back for more. For example, when the Google Maps home page was put on a diet, shrunk from 100K to about 70K to 80K, traffic was up 10 percent the first week and in the following three weeks, 25 percent more, she said.
During the 0.5 second a Google search query spends “on site” it touches 300 to 700 servers around the US.
The phenomenom is multiplicative: enabling a faster learning curve. Instant gratification helps drive people to become expert users faster. “If you have each transaction take less time, you have expert users more satisfied. You want lots of small and fast interactions if speed is important,” she added.
It looks like Citizendium should strive for speedy serving of key pages like the Main Page and search results. After all, we want to attract and keep users don’t we? Beyond that, interaction is often piecemeal, with users fluttering from page to page to find answers - a different experience to book reading. The essence of Citizendium is the “text and the wikilink” - the more seamless the onsite navigation the better the experience.